Roadwork on Interstate 20 moves to eastbound lanes

Published 4:41 pm Monday, March 28, 2022

Roadwork on Interstate 20 near the Clay Street exit moved from the westbound lanes to the eastbound lanes on Monday.

According to Vicksburg Police Chief Penny Jones, this switch — and the roadway being reduced to one lane — caused heavy traffic for those traveling through the River City.

Jones also said local authorities were waiting on signboards from the Mississippi Department of Transportation that will alert motorists on the roadway. MDOT spokesperson Mike Flood said Monday afternoon the signage was on its way.

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The lane closure is part of ongoing work to repair a bridge crossing Old Highway 27 as part of a major project to repair and improve the five bridges crossing Interstate 20 in Warren County.

Crews began working on the bridge crossing Old Highway 27 in February, first closing off the westbound lanes. On Monday, crews closed off the eastbound Clay Street entrance ramps and reduced traffic to one lane for the duration of the project. The move caused eastbound traffic to back up as far as the Mississippi River Bridge.

The bridges designated for work are 4.5A, which crosses Old Highway 27; 4.8A and 4.8 B, which cross Clay Street; and 4.9A and 4.9 B, which cross Old U.S. 80.

The project includes removing and replacing existing bridge rails, end posts and a portion of the bridge deck on all the bridges; installing new guardrails; removing and replacing all existing bridge joints where the bridge spans join together; and installing pressure relief joints at all bridge ends.

Pressure relief joints allow the bridges to expand and contract as temperatures change.

Additional work planned for bridge 4.5A at Old Highway 27 includes pressure washing and cleaning all debris from the existing caps and bearings, removing the pile encasement wall section to repair piles, installing pile repair plates to repair broken pilings, and connecting angles.

Also, all exposed steel pilings, connecting angles and the repair area will be painted. New pile encasements — concrete sleeves to protect and reinforce the bridge pilings — will be formed and poured, and the existing exposed steel of the superstructure and bearings will be painted.